Can police track your VPN activity? Do you want to know if you can be tracked while still using a VPN Connection? Do you wonder if others can see your information online? This article answers your questions about the level of security offered by VPNs and other related issues.
TL;DR - Can a VPN be Tracked?
It is possible for a VPN to be tracked, although it is generally more difficult to do so than tracking a connection that is not using a VPN. This is because VPNs encrypt internet traffic, making it more difficult for third parties to see what you are doing online.
However, it’s important to note that not all VPNs are created equal, and some may offer more privacy protection than others. Some VPNs may keep logs of your internet activity that could potentially be accessed by authorities, while others may have more robust privacy policies that protect your online activity.
It’s always a good idea to research the privacy policies and reputation of any VPN service you are considering using to ensure that your online activity will be kept as private as possible. It’s also worth noting that using a VPN does not make you completely anonymous online, as your internet service provider (ISP) and other third parties may still be able to see that you are using a VPN.
As soon as your device establishes a connection to a VPN (virtual private network) server, your IP address will be replaced by that of the server, and all of your data transmissions will be encrypted. The term “virtual private network” refers to the fact that it establishes an encrypted, private connection between your device and the VPN server.
By connecting to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) server in the United States but physically located in Australia, for example, your online persona will be misrepresented as being located in the United States. Meanwhile, encryption transforms information into an unintelligible jumble for any prying eyes. Using a reliable VPN service renders your web traffic unintelligible to prying eyes.
But it doesn’t imply a VPN user is completely invisible on the web. Whether or not you are using a virtual private network (VPN) may be detected by your ISP, websites, and perhaps even governments. Even if they don’t understand what you are doing on the internet, they’ll be able to easily spot your VPN. The question then is: how can a VPN be tracked? Is it possible to get tracked when using a VPN?
These are questions that would plague any curious mind that I have asked in the past. And during my search and interactions with some of my tech buddies, I got some insights and came up with answers which I will now share with you in this article.
The simplest answer to this question is a NO. Your IP address and online activity cannot be monitored. If you use a VPN that isn’t very good, though, you may still be vulnerable to tracking. If someone were to try to snoop on your communication while it was encrypted and tunneled via a VPN server, all they would see would be the VPN server’s IP address and a bunch of random characters. After that point, the only way to keep tabs on you would be via the data you voluntarily provide to the sites and services you use.
How your online activities can be detected even with an active VPN
Your online activities can still be detected even if a VPN is active on your device. Below are some ways:
If you are a tech or computer buff, you are likely to know or have encountered this term. Cookies are small coded bits stored by your browser as evidence that you visited a website or webpage. This is important for websites as it is the only way to access your demands.
A Browser being able to track your online activities is quite logical since it is the means you access the internet in the first place.
3. Viruses and malware
Malicious content exists in every corner of the internet. If you happen on such content and access it, it can cause havoc to your device and leak your private details.
4. Data retrieval websites
Some websites store our data and keep records of our online activities. Therefore, your information can readily be used by them.
Who can Track Your Online Activities?
Knowing who can detect your activities online is important, as it helps you know what you are up against and what measures you need to take to keep yourself safe online. Thus the following is a summary of those that can detect your activities online.
Hackers can obtain your personal data when you are online without you knowing. They do this by standing between you and places you visit, thereby stealing your information. This usually happens when you are using public Wi-Fi. But once you are using a VPN, you get ample protection from the malicious intents of cybercriminals.
2. Governmental bodies
Governments have been known to keep a close eye on the internet activities of their citizens. Some argue that they do this to detect security threats and ensure citizens are law-abiding. Thus, it is in the interest of the state, they’d say. Using a VPN will also make it harder for them to track your online activities and obtain some private data. However, in some regions, using a VPN is an offense punishable by law.
Here is a table that summarizes the general legality of using a virtual private network (VPN) in different countries:
|Country||Legal to use VPN?|
|United States||Generally legal|
|European Union||Generally legal|
|China||Generally illegal (only permitted for approved business purposes)|
|Russia||Generally illegal (only permitted for approved business purposes)|
It’s important to note that the legality of using a VPN can vary depending on the specific laws and regulations of each country, and this table should be considered a general guideline only.
Additionally, even if it is legal to use a VPN in your country, some VPNs may not be legal to use due to their policies or practices. It’s always a good idea to research the privacy policies and reputation of any VPN service you are considering using to ensure that it is legal and reputable.
3. Your Internet service provider (ISP)
Your internet service provider can track your activities online without much trouble. They can even try to set boundaries and restraints. But once you begin using a VPN, it becomes extremely hard for your internet service provider to keep a close watch on you.
Why You Shouldn’t Use a Free VPN
In order to stay in business, free VPNs typically share your information with advertisers or other third parties. However, it’s important to note that some free VPN services maintain connection logs, meaning they monitor and store data about your general internet activity.
This information contains your Internet Protocol address, the Internet Protocol address of the website you are attempting to view, the time of connection, and the total quantity of data transmitted. It’s clear that keeping track of this data renders a VPN ineffective since it reveals your internet activity in any case and provides no anonymity.
How someone can Easily Detect if You Are Using a VPN
Without VPNs, a user’s data traffic, such as their connection to various sites, is pretty clear. But when VPNs are in use, data traffic goes through one IP address initiated by the VPN. You can only find out if someone is using a VPN if you are conversant with the usual signs.
1. Port number
Port numbers used to create connections by some VPNs can also be unique to them that much similar to proxy ports. Therefore, this information can be used to tell what VPN is in play.
2. Deep packet inspection (DPI)
Deep packet inspection is used to examine data packets occurring during internet usage. It is used to prevent malware and other malicious content. Deep packet inspection is also applied in detecting VPNs. Some governments use this technique to prevent the use of VPNs by their citizens.
3. VPN Internet point address
VPN IP addresses are unique, which makes it easy to notice. There are some statistics that try to differentiate one VPN from another. Websites can detect your use of a VPN using the VPN IP address. This is often as far as they can go. They can’t still figure out who is using the VPN.
How to keep yourself safe online
It isn’t easy to use the internet and enjoy maximum anonymity. But you can take some measures to keep yourself safe to a certain extent. Here are some tips:
1. Use browsers that provide more privacy
There are many privacy-based browsers that can serve you better in that aspect than Google. These browsers have many features that ensure your online activities are concealed and help block irrelevant ads and malware.
2. Use a VPN
A VPN is your best bet for staying anonymous online and preventing anyone from accessing your data. However, you need to choose the best VPN out there, which may be expensive. But that will mean better quality and protection. Free VPNs do not give the needed protection in the long run and are not the wisest choices.
3. Sensor your posts
Scrutinize the type of content you publish online. If you are used to sharing intimate aspects of your life online, especially on social media, it is easy for people to get sensitive details about you and use them however they please. Therefore, be conscious of what you put out there.
Q: Would VPN make me anonymous?
The plain truth about using VPNs is that they don’t make you anonymous. However, they provide privacy and security from hacking attempts, tracking, monitoring of ISP, targeted ads, and internet surveillance.
Q: Is it possible for routers to track VPN?
The only thing the router can see is the server IP address of the VPN. On the other hand, the router can view the history of VPN usage. That is, the number of times you’ve used the VPN connection. Even so, it is impossible for it to view your exact location.
Q: Can someone track my IP address?
An IP address is vulnerable to tracking and monitoring. People or websites can easily store your online data via your IP address, and this makes it possible to trace that IP address to your specific geolocation.
VPNs help protect your online activities and give you security against hazards like hacking, malware, and other malicious content. Free VPNs don’t usually give you maximum anonymity, so I recommend you use paid VPNs.
Even with this, your online privacy is not entirely guaranteed, as governments and other data-retrieving agencies may possess sophisticated software to counter what your VPN can offer. Nevertheless, using VPNs is the surest way to keep yourself safe online.
You can also practice habits like scrutinizing the information you share online, using privacy-based browsers, and selecting a VPN that gives you optimum security.